iPad Mini to mark end of road for iPad 2, claim sources

iPad Trio

Consumer electronics giant Apple looks set to call time on production of the iPad 2, supply chain sources have suggested to IT Pro.

The device is being canned to make way for the rollout of a smaller iPad, which Apple is expected to debut at a launch event later today, it has been claimed.

Speaking to IT Pro under condition of anonymity, our source said: "We have been told that the iPad 2 is definitely being discontinued and being replaced by the iPad Mini, and that the current version of the [9.7in] iPad will be replaced by a new variant as well."

The iPad 2 is definitely being discontinued and being replaced by the iPad Mini.

Many retailers have been struggling to get hold of iPad 2 stock for several weeks, which is usually a sign that production is being wound up.

"We had one pallet in today, but we used to get six or seven pallets in at a time," the source added.

The iPad 2 was launched in March 2011, and proved popular with consumers and business users and is reported to have clocked up sales of 2.6 million units within its first three months on sale.

According to other supply chain sources, the device has continued to sell well, despite being superseded by the launch of the iPad 3 in March 2012.

"In the retail environment, all people want is the iPad 2 because people love the iPad, but they want a cheaper version of it," another source added.

"Business users seem to go for iPad 3 because they want the higher quality product, but the iPad 2 has been a big hit with education and retail customers on a budget."

Speaking to IT Pro, Rob Bamforth, service director at analyst Quocirca, said it would be worthwhile for Apple to keep making the device and retain it as an all-purpose tablet.

"It would be worth having a premium product, which would be the iPad 3, and maintain the iPad 2 as a workhorse-type device and then position the iPad Mini as an entry-level tablet," he said.

"But, with this smaller device coming in, at a potentially lower price, maybe it is felt that it would undermine the reason for having the iPad 2," he added.

IT Pro was awaiting a response from Apple at the time of publication.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.